P.R.O.B.E.: The Devil of Winterborne

Roots: The X-Files. Satanic ritual films. There are references to Dennis Wheatley, Dixon of Dock Green, and Goodbye Mr. Chips.

Continuity: Although mostly kept ambiguous, the implication is that Christian really is the reincarnation of Isaac Greatorix; the portrait suggests this [and Ghosts of Winterborne confirms it]. He believes that he can gain eternal life by drinking the blood of an young man in his eighteenth year and extinguishing the young man's life in the process. The ceremony only works if the sacrifice is performed using the Dagger of Azmodae. Christian leaps off the bridge at the end and apparently disappears.

Liz's father recently died. She now works for P.R.O.B.E., the Preternatural Research Bureau. Her superior is Patricia "Patsy" Haggard, an old friend of Liz's. Liz's assistant, Lou Baylis (The Zero Imperative) has recently been relocated, to Liz's anger. P.R.O.B.E. was recently under the jurisdiction of Minister Sir Richard Stevenson, who has just been replaced by Rutherford. As a child, Liz used to visit her Gran's grave, and was terrified by an old wooden door lying in the cemetery, which she believed covered a grave. Her father is buried in the same cemetery. Liz smokes a pipe (see Who Killed Kennedy).

Patsy Haggard used to work in surveillance. It is implied that she and Liz grew up together.

Links: Rutherford has a UNIT file on his desk.

Location: Winterborne School and surrounding area, Surrey; Whitehall, London; [c1996].

The Bottom Line: A disturbing serial killer story with an occult twist, which puts K-9 and Company. to shame. The adult themes are tackled maturely, giving The Devil of Winterborne a nasty edge without seeming gratuitous, and the uncompromising nature of the violence on display (especially the skinned dog's head and assorted bloody corpses) make for an effectively disturbing feel. Peter Davison's scene in the police interview room is miles away from his portrayal of the Fifth Doctor.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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